homeless

Christmas Gives Back Idea Book: Man Cans

Ever wondered what to get some of the guys in your life? How about a candle that smells like bacon or a new leather baseball glove or freshly cut grass? 

Man Cans are candles scented for men. Forget florals and sweet smells, these candles are infused with a heartier scent. Each candle is poured in a soup can with a manly brown paper wrapper, and the simplicity of the design is part of the genius of this social enterprise. 

Man Cans was founded in 2010 by a kid, then-13-year-old Hart Main, who (during his sister's candle fundraiser for school) wondered why companies didn't make candles with scents that appealed to men. So, he set about to make his own candle, deciding that a soup can would be the perfect vessel. Along the way, he decided he wanted his company to do something for his local community, so he began purchasing soup, donating it to local soup kitchens, reclaiming the opened cans and then pouring his candles inside. Thus, Man Cans was born. 

In the beginning, mom did all of the actual pouring (Hart wasn't allowed to mess with the hot wax). In later years, Hart began taking a more active production role, but then the company's success made a small kitchen enterprise impossible, so Hart decided to hire out the pouring. He chose Beaver Creek Candle Co., which exclusively hires mentally and developmentally disabled employees to work in their facilities. 

When you purchase a Man Can, not only are you providing a job for the mentally and developmentally disabled, you are providing meals for the disadvantaged at shelters across the country through Man Can's "One Candle, One Meal" pledge. So this Christmas, spice up the ambience of your home with a 'Santa's Beard' scented candle. Grab a Gunpowder scent for your favorite hunter. And the Memphis BBQ scent would be perfect for the guy that likes to fiddle with the smoker out back. Whatever scent you choose, your candle will feed the hungry and provide employment for the disabled--that's an awesome gift to give!

(PS--They also sell 'She Cans' in more traditionally-feminine scents and wax melts for warmers in both Man and She scents. Just in case that's more your style)

Christmas Give Back Idea Book: Knit Gear from Mitscoots Outfitters

I know what you're thinking: socks for Christmas? Seriously? But when they're this fun, fashionable and functional, how can you resist? Cool funky patterns, bright colors and hi-tech basics for athletic performance, these socks aren't your ordinary box-store footwear. 

Mitscoots gear is manufactured in the USA in plants located in Texas, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York and California, then packaged in a facility in Austin, Texas that employs transitioning homeless, giving valuable jobs to those that need them most. And every time you make a purchase, a similar, high-quality item will be given to the homeless, to help them stay warm and healthy on the streets. 

Mitscoots was founded in 2012 by Tim Scott and his wife, Agata. In their volunteer work with the homeless community, one of the most frequent requests was for socks and other gear, like hats and gloves. As Tim developed his business plan, he knew that providing quality gear to the homeless community would be a cornerstone of his business model. But Tim wasn't content to just give handouts of free gear--he knew that this was just a temporary fix, as even the most high-quality gear would eventually wear out. "Top-down charities are all about people receiving. There's no 'Let's do this together.' Restoring dignity is missing."

One day, he had an epiphany, though: the socks would require packaging, sizing stickers and branding, and that's when Tim decided to hire the homeless to do the work.  Mitscoots provides part-time employment that instills a sense of pride and dignity in those that are looking to work, but are frequently unable to secure employment because of their living situation. It helps to bridge the gap between shelter and street living to full-time employment. Mitscoots also partners with a variety of local nonprofits to make a holistic impact in the Austin homeless community. This approach allows them to meet the immediate needs of the homeless, provide a pathway to independence in the future, and engage the American workforce in creating a quality product for the consumer--it's a win-win-win-win. 

Whether your recipients' taste in socks is purely functional or runs more to the fanciful, you're sure to find a product to delight them. What a great stocking stuffer to give this holiday!

For you Kentucky Wildcats fans, here's a new pair of lucky socks. (Other colors, too)  Flatwater argyle sock $14  &  Solid crew $10

For you Kentucky Wildcats fans, here's a new pair of lucky socks. (Other colors, too)
Flatwater argyle sock $14Solid crew $10

Have an athlete in your life? Get them the hi-tech comfort they deserve!  Low-rise athletic sock, 3-pack $28  

Have an athlete in your life? Get them the hi-tech comfort they deserve!
Low-rise athletic sock, 3-pack $28 

Feeling patriotic? Show your American pride with some classy stars and bars.   The Independence sock $14

Feeling patriotic? Show your American pride with some classy stars and bars. 
The Independence sock $14

Fall weather means permission to drag out the boots, and a pair of comfy, padded boot socks are a must.   Natalia Boot sock $22

Fall weather means permission to drag out the boots, and a pair of comfy, padded boot socks are a must. 
Natalia Boot sock $22

These houndstooth socks with the yellow trim are sure to brighten up the dreariest January day!  The Mac sock $14

These houndstooth socks with the yellow trim are sure to brighten up the dreariest January day!
The Mac sock $14